Indian police arrest three alleged suicide attack planners

Other News Materials 23 December 2008 14:21 (UTC +04:00)

Indian police said Tuesday they had arrested three militants, one of them a Pakistani army soldier, in northern Jammu and Kashmir state, reported dpa.

The three militants, who were arrested from a hotel in the state's winter capital Jammu on Sunday, were planning a major suicide attack, IANS news agency quoted Jammu and Kashmir police chief Kuldeep Khoda as saying.

Khoda said interrogation and incriminating documents found on the three men revealed that they were all Pakistani nationals.

He said they belonged to the Pakistan-based Islamic group Jaish-e-Mohammed and were planning a suicide attack in Jammu city.

"One of the three has been identified as Ghulam Farid alias Gulshan Kumar, a sepoy (foot soldier) in 10 Azad Kashmir regiment of Pakistan Army. His service number is 4319184," Khoda said.

The Azad Kashmir regiment of the Pakistan Army is deployed largely along the line of control, a de facto border that divides the disputed Kashmir region in two parts, one administered by India and the other by Pakistan.

"Three terrorists of the Jaish-e-Mohammad went from Karachi to Dhaka and to Kolkata and from there they came to Jammu December 20. On specific information, we arrested them from hotel Samrat in Jammu on Sunday," Khoda said.

He said Ghulam Farid had joined Pakistan Army in 2001 and was detailed for terrorist activities in 2005. A native of Bhimber in Pakistan-administered Kashmir, he was associated with Harkat-ul-Jehad-Islami, a pan-Islamic militant group, before he joined the army.

Farid was arrested along with Mohammad Abdullah, who Khoda said came from Pakistan's North West Frontier Province, and Mohammed Imran, who hails from Dera Nawab in Bahawalpur, also in Pakistan.

Khoda said all three were trained and indoctrinated in Pakistan to carry out terror attacks in urban centres like the recent strike in India's financial hub Mumbai.

"These three had come to Jammu and they were to meet a guide, who was to come from the Kashmir valley to Jammu and provide them weapons for specific targeting. We will know the target after interrogation," Khoda said.

The militants were most likely planning their strike to disrupt the elections being held in Jammu and Kashmir. The seventh and last phase of the staggered elections to the state legislature are scheduled Wednesday.

India has repeatedly accused Pakistan of supporting militant activity in Kashmir. Islamabad has consistently denied the charges and said Kashmiri militants are freedom fighters.

South Asian neighbours India and Pakistan have fought three wars since their independence from British rule in 1947, two of them over the disputed Kashmir region.